Have you heard of a ‘Hello! Dolly Bar?’ Or maybe you call them ‘Magic Bars’ or ’7 Layer Bars?’
I had never heard of any of this until recently. Someone asked me if I had a good recipe for ‘Hello Dolly Bars’ and I just stared at them blankly. Then they were appalled that I didn’t know what they were talking about.
them: “It’s a traditional southern dessert! You should definitely know how to make them!”
me: “I’m not from the South.”
them: “You’re from Kansas. You’re from the South.”
So I decided to embrace my southern roots? and learn how to make these! Through researching these babies, I learned that Hello Dolly Bars are a cookie bar with a graham cracker crust, layers of chocolate, butterscotch, nuts, coconut, and then drizzled with sweetened condensed milk. While all of that sounds fine and good, I had to make these babies a little more fancy.
I opted to use a brown butter cookie crust as a base for the layers of dark chocolate, toasted pecans, large coconut flakes, and butterscotch chips. And for the finale, I topped them with a whiskey salted caramel sauce. These pretty ladies are amazing. Tooting my own horn and not even ashamed about it! I even renamed these ‘Hello! Bettie Bars.’ Sorry Dolly!
I also had some of the whiskey caramel leftover so I saved that for use on ice cream or in my coffee, or pretty much anything I can find in the fridge to pour it on. It’s like a bonus treat with the recipe!
I feel I need to give my husband some credit as the caramel drizzler here. He is a certified drizzler for all my photography needs. It’s a skill. He’s also helping me to redesign the website (isn’t he handy?) so look out for a whole new look and feel coming up soon!
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup, 8 oz)
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (preferably dark brown)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 TBSP vanilla
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups dark chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
- 1 1/2 cups large flake coconut (I used unsweetened, you can use sweetened if you prefer)
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1 1/2 cups whiskey caramel (recipe follows)
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 TBSP butter
- 1/4 cup whiskey
- large pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 13X9 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cut the butter into small pieces and place it in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the butter turns an amber color and smells nutty. Pour into a holding cup or into the mixing bowl and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time until completely incorporated.
- Mix in the vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Scrape down the bowl.
- Slowly mix in the flour just until incorporated.
- Using a rubber spatula, distribute the dough evenly in the baking dish. You may need to use clean damp fingers to spread the thick dough out evenly.
- Bake for 5 minutes to allow the dough to begin to set.
- Meanwhile, prepare the caramel sauce.
- Place the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Swirl the pan around while the sugar melts and then starts to turn amber. (do not stir, just swirl the pan around to ensure even caramelization.)
- As soon as the sugar turns a light amber color remove from the heat and carefully pour in the cream while stirring constantly. The mixture will bubble like crazy.
- Return the pan to the low heat and stir until all of the sugar is smooth and dissolved. Stir in the butter, whiskey and the salt. Set aside until ready to drizzle.
- After 5 minutes, remove the baking dish from the oven. Layer with dark chocolate, butterscotch chips, coconut, pecans, and drizzle evenly with caramel. You will probably have some caramel left over. Sprinkle the top with a bit of sea salt or kosher salt if desired.
- Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until set, covering the pan loosely with foil halfway through to prevent over caramelization.
- Allow to cool completely before depanning and slicing.
- Drizzle with more caramel when serving if desired.